Coach Alex Nelson, flanked by dancer/athlete Gary Sam, speaks about the importance of athleticism, identity and teamwork for youth competing in the North American Indigenous Games. Kristyn Anthony/VICTORIA NEWS

Island First Nations officially bids to host 2020 North American Indigenous Games

Greater Victoria last welcomed athletes to compete on traditional lands in 1997

In a presentation of song, dance and sport, the Songhees Nation announced Monday that an official bid will be made to host the 2020 North American Indigenous Games in Greater Victoria.

Songhees Chief Ron Sam said bringing the Games to the home of the Lekwungen speaking peoples is a chance to showcase athleticism and culture, but also provides an economic boom to the area.

“These are transformational experiences for everyone,” he said. “Particularly for our youth, for whom we must all work to ensure that they have a future filled with pride, optimism, opportunity, health and prosperity.”

Victoria last played host to the Games in 1997, inviting athletes in the thousands to “experience what it is like to be celebrated for our distinctive culture and athleticism,” Sam said.

Athletes aged 14 to 19 compete in 3-D archery, badminton, baseball, basketball, box lacrosse, golf, soccer, softball, swimming, rifle-shooting, volleyball and wrestling, as well canoe and kayaking, in the name of respect and friendship.

In 2017, the Songhees Nation sent seven athletes to the Indigenous Games in Toronto, bringing home three gold medals, and one bronze, as part of Team B.C.

RELATED: Victoria considers 2020 North American Indigenous Games bid

Michael Maresca, a lacrosse participant in the 2014 and 2017 Games, described it as “a dream come true” to compete in the Iroquois arena on the land where the sport was first given to the people of the Ha`degaenage.

“Traditionally, lacrosse is known as the ‘medicine game’ for its ability to heal and bring joy and happiness to both those who play and watch the game and I believe that to be true,” Maresca said.

Ottawa, Halifax and Winnipeg are also vying for the 2020 Games, which are projected to cost more than $7 million and are expected to generate at least twice as much in revenues.

The decision is expected to be announced later this year.

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Departure Bay school parents concerned about rotating learning space

Eco-school students being taught in library and picnic areas, say parents

Tilray to export cannabis formulation to U.S. for clinical trial

Marijuana remains illegal in most of the U.S.

District of Lantzville adopts new logo

Logo features sea glass in shape of wave and the slogan ‘Love life here’

Attorney general takes Nanaimo councillor to court over release of confidential documents

Coun. Gord Fuller and three other Nanaimo citizens named in Supreme Court petition

Council reverses past practice, will broadcast meetings during election campaign

Nanaimo city council votes 5-4 to continue with broadcasts

Local violinist Ray Chin performs at the Nanaimo Arts Council

Concert to feature a varied selection of compositions

Candidate lists finalized for Nanaimo, Lantzville, RDN, school district

Nomination deadline passes in advance of Oct. 20 local government elections

Porsche and Subaru dealerships can proceed with planning in north Nanaimo

City council unanimously allows rezoning application process to move forward

Food bank collects fixings for Thanksgiving dinners

Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank held its Thanksgiving Food Drive on Saturday in Nanaimo

B.C. home to 1/3 of Canada’s overdose deaths in first 3 months of the year

There were 1,036 overdose deaths in the first three months of the year, with 94 per cent accidental

Canadian tobacco exec pushes back against vaping health concerns

A warning from Interior Health about the unknown health risks of vaping is getting a partial rebuke

Ministry of Agriculture commits $300,000 to help B.C. farmers obtain land

B.C. Land Matching Program supports access to affordable farmland for young farmers

Canadian air force short 275 pilots

Attrition outpaces recruitment and training claims Air Force

Teacher suspended after physically shushing, saying ‘shut up’ to student

Grade 5 student reported feeling ‘confused and a little scared’

Most Read